Friday, February 8, 2008

(Banana) Republic of India

I was quite infuriated to read this: Army to raise 2 mountain units to counter Pak, China, and for a reason. It is quite possible that we really need these as a definitive measure towards shoring up our national security. Yet it is equally disingenuous to say that that alone will be effective enough against China, for the time being at least-- or, against their menacingly bulging military infrastructure for that matter. On the face of it, this seems a right step towards modernizing Indian Army, but it hides something precarious.

That being: We're not competent enough when paired against our friendly neighborhood, and always seem to be playing catchup in the strategic game. Our border with Chinese-occupied Tibet is poorly defended- why else would you see Chinese intruding with impunity on a remarkably regular basis. Remember what they did to the American spy-plane that ventured into their sovereign waters, or to the Soviets over Damansky islands conflict? No? Then read it, don't ask me. :-) They are raising up the ante by repeatedly provoking us; and we appear feckless by the day never being able to respond in kind. The (butt end of) joke is upon us.

It is not difficult to see why this is so--we're under-prepared, lacking in confidence and insecure. And, it also reveals why we fail to return the favor to our western neighbor, not even during Kargil war-- they are better equipped. You cannot blame our strategic rivals for what essentially is our fault-- they didn't ensure the appointment of woolly-headed Gujaral or a nappy head Gowda as PM, we did. Our surrender monkeys begin the discussion with an enervating talk of territorial giveaways as a measure of securing peace, and it's all downhill thereafter.

China has over 700 intermediate range missiles planted on the Tibetan plateau; we're still testing our Agni systems. China had ICBMs ready within a decade of exploding nukes; we still hanker about IRBMs. Even a decade since Pokhran-II, we continue nonchalantly with neither a credible, nor a minimum deterrence.

Here's an excerpt from a transcript of Mao's conversation with Khrushchev. It speaks loudly of Mao's estimation of his own country's worth; its status in the constellation of world powers; and the responsibility conferred upon its leaders i.e. Mao, by virtue of the same.
"Mao Tse-tung said: 'You are Communists and we are Communists. Communists usually share. Will you give us the atomic bomb or not?' Khrushchev: 'And what do you want the atomic bomb for? We have the atomic bomb and we will stand up for China just the same as we would for the Soviet Union.' 'Yes,' Mao said, 'it's true. But we are not just some tinpot village. China is a great country and we want to have it.' Khrushchev: 'You don't need it,' and so on. Mao then says: 'So you don't want to give it to us then?'"
You've to admire Mao's forbearance here. No amount of sugar-talk will distract that poker-faced communist leader. Contrast Mao's behavior with our own pompous hecklers who routinely pass off for leaders, intellectuals, statesmen and what not. To compound our ignominy, the present rulers even gifted us recently with a phantom-loving simpleton as the country's first female President-- though one wonders how exactly that clueless lady could ever represent today's confident Indian woman. And it was only recently that one could hear the tin-drum twitter of a nuke-free world being advocated as a legitimate foreign policy objective. Pipe-dreaming couldn't have been explained more economically.

So long as we content ourselves with such stop-gap measures as found in the alarming news snippet above, can we kiss goodbye to any aspiration we have had of being meted as a worthy contender.

If wishes were horses then even banana republics would fly. The news above then just sits as a sad reminder of how far off we are from having been arrived. Till then we can hold off the heady celebrations.

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